We’re just having fun, it’s Christmas!

Alexandra Mardell has said she wants to “perform well” in the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special, but doesn’t feel the need to win the competition.

The 29-year-old actress, best known for her portrayal of Emma Brooker in Coronation Street, has teamed up with Kai Widdrington as one of six celebrities who will battle it out in a festive edition of the show.

Speaking ahead of the special, which airs on Christmas Day, Mardell said: ‘It’s fun, I think there are probably a lot of competitive people out there, but not right now, we’re just having fun, it’s Christmas!

“For sure I get nervous because I want to do well but I’m not like ‘I have to win’.”

Speaking with pro partner Widdrington, 27, the pair revealed what it was like to train together ahead of the big day.

Mardell said, “It’s been a real pleasure, I was really nervous the first day, but it’s been amazing.”

Widdrington added: “Alexandra is a joy to work with, she’s so easy because when someone walks into the rehearsal room with such positivity every day, even if it’s only been a short time, it’s been a real pleasure.

“We have a nice, fun, cheeky routine and hopefully good quality dancing too.”

The couple then revealed their families’ Christmas traditions, both of which center around food.

Widdrington said: “We always have Christmas sausage rolls with chutney in the morning. Oh my god, that’s a game changer. It’s sensational, it will change your life.”

Mardell said, “We always have fajitas on Christmas Eve which is random, I never have them that often and I love them! And she plays a lot of board games.

Discussing her plans for the new year, Mardell revealed that she would be taking a health kick and preparing for her wedding.

“Dry Veganuary,” she said.

“So it’s going to be a very serious January, and just go through my wedding planning list, because I need to.”

The actress revealed her engagement to partner Joe Parker in April of last year and has been sharing regular updates about her journey to bride-to-be via Instagram.

This year’s strictly holiday special will also see CBeebies host George Webster dance with pro Amy Dowden and Girls Aloud’s Nicola Roberts paired with Giovanni Pernice.

Actor Larry Lamb will dance with Nadiya Bychkova, DJ Rickie Haywood-Williams with Luba Mushtuk and podcaster Rosie Ramsey will be joined by Neil Jones.

Last year singer Anne-Marie and professional dancer Graziano Di Prima crowned the winner of the 2021 Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special.

The Strictly 2022 series concluded on Saturday with Hamza Yassin and his partner Jowita Przystal lifting the glitterball trophy after the public vote.

– The Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special will air on BBC One and BBC iPlayer on Christmas Day at 5.10pm.

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